About twenty years back if you told somebody to worry about their online reputation; they would probably have laughed at you. These days most people are aware that their online reputation is possibly even more important than their real life reputation. This is because the Internet has become part of your so called real life. Actually everything of importance to your real life is accessed through the Internet. At your job you are constantly using web based applications. Your banking, trading and commercial transactions are being carried out with the help of the Internet. You entertain yourself on the Internet and socialize on it as well. Can you afford to have a bad reputation on it? The answer is a big NO.
You have to take all the steps necessary to ensure that your online image is a sober and respectable one. Just like in the off line world no one takes a non serious person at face value, so it is in the virtual world. They will take you seriously only if you have something serious to contribute. Therefore, online reputation management has to be taken seriously. So what is online reputation management all about?
It’s about content.
That’s right, if the content pertaining to you that is doing the rounds of the Internet is positive, you will be trusted by those who may want to employ you, work with you or even date you. A negative reputation on the other hand will drive these people away from you. This is how critical the Internet has become to our lives. Don’t you yourself Google for anything that you need to find out. Whether it is a new car you want to buy or information you want to have about the new political leader in your constituency? So you have to ensure that only good content that pertains to you gets around on the Internet.
How to manage our online reputation?
To answer the question, what is reputation management all about, one has to undertake three steps. The first thing to do is to track the Internet for any malicious or defamatory content about you. If it is patently false, you can ask the websites that carry the content to take it down. The second thing to do is to create positive content by way of blogs, articles, comments on other people’s content, and try to get others to comment favorably on your content. The idea is to organically increase both the quantity and quality of content pertaining to you on the Internet. This will ensure that whatever content there is that is detrimental to your interests does not get a chance to influence people’s perception of you.
You can also turn to professional companies, who will not only help you contain the damage caused by negative content about you, but also help chalk out and implement a calibrated reputation management strategy that will help you create just the type of online image that you had in mind for yourself. Truly online management today is something that everybody needs. You may be an individual or a company; there will have to be some sort of proactive strategy that you will need to work out to deal with dangers to your reputation that emerge from the widespread use of the Internet.
John Keats has written a number of blogs on the Internet. His most popular ones are on the impact of social media like Twitter and Facebook.